Officer who took down Virginia’s on King shooter identified

Credit: WCBD/Libba Holland

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) —  The Charleston Police Department has identified the police officer who wounded a suspected gunman during a hostage situation and shooting at a downtown Charleston restaurant.

According to spokesman Charles Francis, the officer is Officer Matthew Lawcock, a 5 year veteran of the department.

Thomas Demetrius Burns

Thomas Demetrius Burns, 53, of North Charleston, is charged with murder.

Authorities say the 53-year-old marched into Virginia’s on King on Thursday, August 24 with a gun killing restaurant’s executive chef, Shane Whiddon, 37.

We later learned Burns was fired from his job as a dishwasher at the restaurant.

RELATED: Virginia’s on King Shooting Complete Coverage

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenberg said the gunman appeared to have a history of mental illness. A court document from April 2010 appears to confirm that. Burns was facing drug charges at the time and a Circuit Court judge ordered a mental evaluation.

“The defendant has schizophrenia and repeatedly accuses defense counsel of working against him,” Judge Kristi Lea Harrington wrote in her order. She gave no further details.

Burns is currently being held at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center.

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